I love the idea of bringing in the first day of the year with a feast.
Feasts should be shared, and even if it’s only only 2 guests, it’s enough of an excuse for a roast of some kind. That brings us up to last Tuesday, when two good artist friends joined us for a late afternoon supper, pre-sundown, built around a large slow-cooked smoked pork rib roast, known in Germany as Kasslerbraten. The rest of the meal was pretty German as well, German in the broadest sense, since most of the wine was Austrian.
We nibbled on breadsticks, dried chickpeas, and taralli, which was not traditionally Germanic, but then neither was the sparkling.
- the wine was a California (Central Coast) sparkling white, Eponina Brut California NV, from Naked Wines
The meal proper began with a smoked fish, which is also pretty Teutonic.
- a composed smoked fish salad using local fish caught by Karl Karlin, the husband of Dolores Karlin, who made it, of more than one white species, mayonnaise, red onion, and celery, from P.E. & D.D.Seafood, spread on soft toasts of a rustic Pain d’Avignon seven grain bread (whole wheat, honey, sesame- sunflower-flax seed, oats) from Foragers
- nasturtium leaves from Union Square Grassman (the only thing green visible in the market on Monday)
- the wine was an Austrian (Wagram) white, Roter Veltliner, Wimmer-Czerny 2016, from Astor Wines
- one six and three quarter-pound smoked pork rack [Ger: Kassler, or Kasslerbraten, once roasted] from O. Ottomanelli and Sons on Bleecker Street in the West Village, trimmed by Joey Ottomanelli, rubbed with a mix of salt, pepper, and a little of both picante and dulce Spanish paprika, placed inside a large enameled cast iron dutch oven with 5 diced yellow onions from John D. Madura Farms and 4 diced garlic cloves from Quarton Farm, 5 or 6 Italian bay leaves from Buon Italia, 8 or 10 juniper berries, 6 cups of water and 2 cups of a decent red wine, covered with its lid (imperfectly, because of the size of the rack, so some tin foil had to be summoned to assist), cooked in a preheated oven 375° for about an hour, the cover removed and the pork continued cooking for another possibly another hour (I didn’t time it, but it took much longer than I had expected, so we have to rely on our own judgment next time) basting occasionally, until the internal temperature was around 160º, removed from the oven, the meat cut into chops, one rib each, and kept warm while a simple sauce was prepared, starting by transferring some of the cooking liquid to a smaller saucepan where, if necessary, it was first reduced, then stirred with a mix of about 4 tablespoons of water stirred with 2 tablespoons of arrowroot to bind it, the ribs served on pre-heated plates with some of the sauce on the top, the remainder poured into a footed glass sauceboat which was added to the table
- a rich chutney prepared the day before with 2 quince that had been in the refrigerator for what should have been an unconscionable time (but which seems to have only made them more interesting) using this theKitchn.com recipe, incorporating a few dried Calabrian (Amantea) figs from Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market (to make up for the fact that I had less quince than specified in the recipe), a red shallot from Norwich Meadows Farm, a Rocambole garlic clove from Keith’s Farm, quince from S. & S.O. Produce, dried sweet cherries from Manhattan Fruit Exchange in the Chelsea Market, chopped candied ginger from Whole Foods Market (I didn’t have the fresh ginger the recipe asked for), and a local apple cider vinegar from Race Farm
- prepared the day before, refrigerated, and then reheated for 12 to 15 minutes the next afternoon: a little over 2 pounds of russet potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, washed, peeled, and thinly-sliced, tossed in a large bowl with a teaspoon of freshly-ground black pepper, a quarter teaspoon or so of freshly-ground nutmeg, 3 Italian bay leaves from Buon Italia, half of a cup of shaved fresh horseradish from holy Schmitt’s Horseradish (in Riverside, Long Island), and two and a half cups of Ronnybrook heavy cream, all arranged inside a buttered 3-quart enameled cast iron baking dish, the liquid pressed to submerge the potatoes completely, covered in aluminum foil and baked in a 400º oven for 25 minutes, the foil removed and the dish allowed to bake further, until the potatoes were tender and the top is golden, about another 50 minutes
- just under a pound of Savoy cabbage from Norwich Meadows Farm, washed, quartered, cored, sliced into one-half-inch ribbons, sautéed inside a medium antique heavy high-sided copper pot over medium heat in about a tablespoon of olive oil and a quarter cup of cold water, cooked for a few minutes, or until the cabbage had wilted slightly, seasoned with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, a little more than a teaspoon of cumin seed that had first been toasted inside a small cast iron pan, and a teaspoon of Columela Rioja 30 Year Reserva sherry vinegar, the cabbage stirred, cooked for a few more minutes, or until tender
- the first wine with the main course was an Austrian (Burgenland) red, Blaufränkisch, Meinklang 2016, from Astor Wines
- followed by a part of another Austrian (Carnuntum) red, Blaufränkisch, Markowitsch 2016
Although there’s no photo of it, there was a cheese course. The choices I had made while shopping at the Greenmarket were with German styles in mind.
- two Alpine-style cow cheeses from Cato Corner Farm in Colchester, Connecticut: ‘Dairyere‘ (aged six months), and ‘Dairyere Reserve‘ aged for a year
- slices of a sturdy Shewolf Bakery miche, reminiscent of a great German bread
- the wine was the remainder of the Burgenland Blaufränkish enjoyed at the end of the main course
- followed by a return to a white, still another Austrian (Weinviertel), Riesling ‘Falkenstein’ Dürnberg 2015, also from Astor Wines
After the cheese, we sipped a port-like wine with nuts and dried fruit.
- dried Calabrian (Amantea) figs from Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market, and some almonds from Foragers Market on 8th Avenue
- the wine was a California (Jackson Valley/Amador County) Port-style fortified wine, using traditional Portuguese varietals, Ana Diogo-Draper Amador County Doce + Forte 2016, from Naked Wines
- the music throughout the afternoon and evening was this Spotify playlist assembled by Barry